Google book plan blocked

Marion Dakers
GOOGLE’S plan to publish millions of books online was thrown out by a US court yesterday after the judge said its $125m (£76.4m) a year settlement with authors was invalid.

Google had offered to pay writers to settle a class action over copyright infringement, but New York judge Denny Chin said the deal “would simply go too far” in giving the firm the power to digitise and sell work without permission.

The judge urged Google, authors and publishers to amend their settlement to only include books whose copyright owners have agreed to the arrangement, rather than a blanket deal that would require authors to opt out if they do not want their scanned books to be sold online.

The web giant has scanned roughly 12m books with a view to publishing them online but competitors including Amazon and Microsoft have said the plan gives it unfair advantage.

“This is clearly disappointing, but we’ll review the court’s decision and consider our options,” said Google managing counsel Hillary Ware in an emailed statement.

Analysts said the setback would have little impact on Google’s financials, since any revenue would have paled in comparison to Google’s main search engine business.